The ACCC has released a final determination authorising Energy
Assured Limited and its members (energy retailers and energy
marketers) to adopt an industry scheme for the self-regulation of
door-to-door energy sales (the Scheme).
Provided the Australian Competition Tribunal receives no
application for review of the determination, the authorisation will
have effect from 15 July 2011 until 14 July 2014.
The ACCC previously issued a draft determination proposing to
deny authorisation to the Scheme. In short, the ACCC's draft
determination was based on the following considerations:
the proposed Scheme did not hold energy retailers sufficiently
accountable for the actions of the agents they employ
the sanctions applicable for breaches of the proposed Scheme
were not considered sufficient to remove incentives for both sales
agents and energy retailers to engage in unfair selling practices
to maximise their financial interests
the information provided to consumers about their legal rights
fell short of existing regulatory obligations, and may confuse
consumers about their rights.
In response to the draft determination, Energy Assured Limited
conducted a review of its Scheme and made a number of
The ACCC is satisfied that the revised Scheme addresses its
previous concerns and is likely to achieve public benefit by
increasing compliance with door-to-door energy sales laws and
lessening the impact of aggressive sales practices.
Key factors in the ACCC's decision to grant authorisation
include that the revised Scheme:
imposes more suitable sanctions on sales agents and energy
retailers to create incentives for compliance with the Scheme
offers increased clarity and transparency surrounding sanctions
and procedures which apply to breaches of the Scheme, including
appropriate public reporting obligations
achieves consistency with other legal obligations regarding
door-to-door energy sales, for example in relation to information
required to be provided to consumers, which will reduce the
opportunity for consumer confusion
provides greater guidance in relation to non-compliance with
the Scheme, including in relation to the categorisation,
identification and investigation of breaches
contains mechanisms for enabling customers to be aware of
their rights and the obligations of sales agents under the
Although its final determination is ultimately supportive of the
revised Scheme, the ACCC notes that the effectiveness of the Scheme
is yet to be established. Accordingly, the ACCC has only granted
authorisation of the Scheme for three years (rather than the 10
years sought by Energy Assured Limited). If re-authorisation is
sought at this point, the ACCC will review the effectiveness of the
Scheme and its relationship with other relevant laws before
determining whether re-authorisation is warranted.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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